Our Neighbor Cambodia: Siem Reap and Angkor Wat
The 'bucket-list' style of travel that is so prevalent lately really irks me, and I try to remind myself that you travel to have experiences, not check things off a list. Angkor Wat is high on many lists. It's heralded as a must-do, a trip of a lifetime and probably something Buzzfeed will tell you do before you die. I have never been a massive fan of temples for various reasons and this place was never high on my priority list. So I felt like a bit of a hypocrite when I agreed to go. I hadn't researched it and knew nothing about the history. But I have learned (in addition to the fact that I overthink things) that you only have to veer slightly off the well-trod path to have a great adventure!
We 'did' Angkor Wat on a mountain bike tour! Around the temples, over walls, through villages past cows and elephants. Our guide shared some really interesting history lessons, pointing out where a king had modified the Buddha images to sit like Hindus, or how an Aspara dancer was mistakenly carved with 6 toes on one foot. It was still hot and tiring but we felt like we had the whole place at our disposal!
In the video above you can see a lot of what we saw, cruising through the jungle and across temple walls. There's also a lot of footage of Rebecca's ass. I would highly recommend using the group we used. They are a local NGO who use the tour money to train locals on motorcycle repair, sewing and other skills. Khmer for Khmer Organization
We popped into the main temple at the end of the day...and I think the visitors were more amusing than the temple itself. So many iPads! We had sweated through our clothes and ended up buying touristy elephant themed t-shirts and baggy pants. I won't be so quick to judge backpacker attire in the future- the stalls leave you very few options when it comes to themes or patterns!
Siem Reap is a really sweet little town, catering to the Angkor Wat tourists. It's on a river and has a night market and a backpacker bar strip called 'Pub Street'. Angelina Jolie was there the SAME night and we were well pissed we didn't run into her. Cos we would have had so much to talk about.....
We stayed in the Rambutan hotel again, but this one was our favorite. It was a Chinese meets Colonial pagoda-style building surrounding a perfect little pool. There were wooden balconies and red doors and the constant sound of bubbling water. It was exactly what you fantasize Asian hotels to look like. The staff were awesome and so was the food. Free Breakfast for the win!